Dessert Island

Dessert Island
Words and art by Ben Zhu
Published 2021

Monkey and Fox find themselves stranded on separate islands. Fox on a bare desert island, Monkey on a lush… dessert island.
Each of them finds things to do, eating or planting. But when the rain comes it’s a blessing for one and a disaster for the other. Told primarily in side-by-side, simultaneous storylines we see opposite emotions, even sometimes with the same words.

Based on the cover, I thought I was in for a cutesy, fun story. And it is cute and fun and giggle-inducing, but there’s more to it. I love how it encourages thankfulness and helping others even when it means giving something up. Monkey and Fox are the kind of good example characters that grownups like to share with kids, and are also ones that kids find engaging and silly and want to revisit.

The art is delightful! Each page has fairly simple pictures which helps to draw the reader into the expressiveness of Fox and Monkey. The spread with worried/excited is my favorite because their faces convey the respective fear and joy to wonderful effect.

I would recommend it as best for ages 3-5, but it’s one that all ages will enjoy.
And remember to check out Ben Zhu’s website here for a coloring activity from the book.

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